19 October 2015
Almost out of fuel and the magic kind of coyote.
When I drove up the hill, cracking of dawn over dusty, dry trees, I remembered the fuel light had been on in my car. I do this. I put off getting diesel until I have to eek down the mountain, coasting slow mile by slow mile, praying quiet little prayers that we can make it all the way to the highway and fill up while the little hand on the dial keeps creepy through the red zone. I also tend to drive without my wallet, so once we get to the gas station, there is creeping through the seats, looking for loose dollars and quarters to purchase just one gallon.
I do this more than I'd like to. But for some reason I can't stop.
It was darker than I like when we slunk into the woods. Not having enough fuel to get up the mountain far enough to where I wanted to go, I had to settle for a walk that didn't feel right so early, passing through several known coyote alleyways.
Another thing I do more than I'd like to. But same thing, I can't stop.
I took a stupid turn, and had to backtrack off a fire road. They've been trying to get the brush down up there, it already feels naked with no foilage left at all. Dried up and dropped off, then dozers have been in there preparing fuel breaks for the inevitable. It's a race against time right now, which will happen first, the Dreaded Blaze or the El Niño? It's a different forest than we've ever known, and the coyotes think so, too.
So I wasn't that surprised when Gustavo came running back to us, coyote chasing behind. He ran first to Banksy, and stopped nearly touching her. That's a sight where a panic slices through you while you see the actual moment of how things can change in an instant. Gustavo. Chased. Coyote. The coyote saw us all frozen, and he stopped as well.
I don't know if he was a he or a she, but whichever, also a dead ringer for Banksy. We joke about how she looks like a coyote, but here he was. The real deal doppleganger, brother from another mother, sister from another mister. Standing there staring at us all, no big blue bug eyes, though. His only looked black from where I was standing. Here he was, now part of our group, and we all had to decide what to do. He was beautiful and furry, looking more magical than most do. Never, ever seen one that looked so much like Banksy . Did fairies bring him to us? Was he even real? A spirit animal delivered for a reason?
Whatever. I got done with that line of thinking real quick. He was a coyote and he was standing right there. I used my favorite coyote yell. It sounds like a cartoon bear doing a karate chop. HA! HA! HA! I also use my special coyote banishing karate chop hand signals with it. He was so close, I didn't dare bend down to get a throwing stick, also throwing sticks has backfired recently because Banksy is all, TOY!, not getting it that this toy is supposed to be a dangerous weapon, aimed at the coyote's head.
Nobody play with the coyote. Nobody chase the coyote. Nobody move. Just the coyote.
HA! HA! HA!
Sometimes yelling doesn't work. Definitely not on the werewolf variety, they've proven immune to my best voices. Also yelling hurts Banksy's feelings. That's why I yell like a cartoon bear. I figure coyotes haven't seen cartoons, they'll be scared. But Banksy lives in a house with a tv, although the only cartoon I ever watch is South Park. I should try to yell like Cartman. That level of potty mouth would definitely hurt Banksy's feelings, though.
Yelling isn't working for this coyote, anyways. He's not budging. Gustavo looks like his eyes are going to fall out of his head and Banksy's just standing there and Otterpop and Ruby are leashed up exactly by my feet, ready to exit.
I channel my inner Kung Fun Panda again. HA!! HA!! HHHAAAAA!!! I wave both arms around in karate chops. I am trying to look like a super bad ass Bruce Lee. All the dogs are disturbed maybe more by this than the coyote which is way too close.
He's eventually scared off, and I'm brave enough to take off the other direction at a pretty fast clip. I look over my shoulder a lot. I also reach down and grab a good throwing stick with a sharp end. For just in case.
Once again. Nobody eaten. But the close calls keep getting closer.
Later on, I also made it down the mountain without running out of gas. Barely. Just barely.
That night, I took the dogs to a dog park. The good old fashioned kind in a fence that keeps wild animals out and that had doodles and schnauzers and labs running up and down the hill chasing balls and kids. You drive your dogs up and stand around in sandals and chat and an old guy walks around and feeds cookies to all the dogs and pets them.
Otterpop thought she had gone to hell. Ruby stayed in the car. And Banksy and Gustavo ran and played and rolled around in the dirt with corgis and spaniels and everybody and I think we'll go back there today.
by team small dog at 4:07 PM